I borrowed that well-worn old expression off a mate, also an old duffer of 42 (or maybe 41… or 35 even, just in case he’s reading..), who did really well at a surf kayak comp last weekend and wheeled it out for the occasion… although 42 is not old of course, not even middle aged any more… However I digress, I am short of time as writing this with a mug of tea while waiting for the resin on some sea kayak repairs to go ‘green’. So last weekend marked my return to bicycle-flavoured competition after 5 1/2yrs of not riding competitively (other than the odd bit of fun) and somewhat to my surprise it went well….
It was a Royal Navy and Royal Marines Cycling Association event with a high class line up so I went along just looking to have some fun, enjoy catching up with two-wheeled acquaintances, and set some sort of baseline for myself as really after more than 5 years out of it past performances can be viewed as somewhat irrelevant, and of course there was the new bike to start getting used to. So.. a new all-time personal best for the course in question (s6/10), a 6th place overall and 1st in my category (40-49yr old duffers basically) was a little bit of surprise… for me, genuinely it was… despite friends saying it was not a surprise at all. So I did what any self-respecting athlete would do in just such a situation and converted all my prize ££ into alcohol on the way home and spent the rest of the day feeling very happy. I was surprised I think because if you define training as structured sessions with a plan for progression.. and intervals and all that painful stuff that I used to do then I don’t train these days. I just go riding and ride based on how I feel. I don’t even own a heart monitor any more, all that kit was sold when I stopped racing before. So it must be something to do with cumulative years of hilly winter miles on a fixed gear.. and some quality chaingang sessions over the past winter… joining the local chaingang on a fixed gear is a pretty good way to get a very varied and very solid workout. I don’t feel close to any kind of peak fitness at the moment so hopefully more speed to come, and I think I might put a little bit of structure back into my riding… but not too much as it still has to be fun.. and not to the extent that it interferes with time in a sea and surf kayaks :-) Anyway, stoked to be back with cyclelogic.co.uk and back in the scene so to speak. I always found the TT events a more sociable, less ‘stressed’ environment than road racing. Good fun :-)
The Isaac Velocity went well, very happy with the bike and my position on it felt good with just the cockpit feeling a tiny bit cramped with knees on occasion brushing my elbows when pushing ‘on top of the gear’ but an extra cm on the stem will be perfect. I had geared it at 52 x 14 as the S6 is not a fast course with plenty of drags that can really hurt flat out. The gearing didn’t represent any problem at all so I’m pushing it up a little bit.. I’d like to try a 54T ring on that course.. but I only have a 55T (and a rather silly 57T) in house so given that big track rings are expensive I’ve slapped that on to see what that’s like. There is an informal club event on the same course tomorrow so I’ll go along and try it out :-) The only concern I have with the Isaac as a fixed gear TT bike is the bottom bracket is very low so with my standard 172.5mm cranks on I’m wary of leaning it over too much on the turn.. so will lose a few seconds there but not enough to worry about. I also have to find a way to mount a bottle inside the frame triangle or on top of the top tube for an upcoming 50. Behind the seat mounts are hopeless as one has to sit up to get at the bottle, and bottles between bar extensions get in the way of my hands if I’m climbing while still in a tuck but in a more rearward position. Have also had dark thoughts about finding a 100 to do.. it’s been a few years since I rode a 100 mile TT and I’ve never done one on a fixed so quite keen to see what could be done there. Kind of makes a mockery of “not going to take it too seriously” however so we’ll see.
In the meantime however I have those sea kayak repairs to return to… my old Romany has a bit of problem with waterlogging in the laminate in a few areas so it’s been drying out for a couple of months and now I need to finish the job before next weekend… got 3 days of BCU 5* sea kayak prep and an old Romany, being as tough as the proverbial old boots and highly manoeuvrable to boot (?!), is the perfect boat for mucking about with that kind of thing likely to involve rough water and tight spaces :-)
cheero and enjoy the second half of your weekend !